Less than half a year ago we already had a post about a small 2-bay D-Link DNS-325 NAS. Now we would like to display its successive counterpart, 4-bay DNS-345 NAS fitted with two Gigabit Ethernet ports.
D-link DNS-345 NAS comes in a black metal case with rounded corners. Its dimensions are 128x200x178 mm and its weight is 2.7 kilos or 6 lbs. The power supply is performed by an external PSU which delivers a direct current of 4.74 A upon the voltage of 19 V.
The front panel is detachable and there is the Power button for switching the device on and off and the Next button used either for switching over the operation modes of OLED display panel or for the cancellation of the back-up procedure. A large part of the front panel is occupied by a ventilation grate through which the intake of cool air is carried out.
The upper and side panels are not remarkable at all, though there is a brand tag on it.
There are two long rubber legs and a sticker with brief information about the device on the bottom side of the NAS.
The rear panel has two 40 mm fans which are responsible for the air circulation inside of the case, two Gigabit Ethernet network interfaces, one USB 2.0 port, sunken Reset button used to reset the user settings, and a plug for connection of the external power unit. We do not think that the usage of small fans is the best idea since the noise they make is clearly audible and might irritate the users. As we will learn later, the software allows an administrator to set up the fan speed, but nonetheless we believe that these measures are not enough. Apart from it, there is also a cable hook and four HDD eject levers. Mounting and ejection of HDDs is carried out by using the front panel, however before doing it one must use the eject lever to eject the applicable HDD manually.
Now let's have a look at the insides of the case.
There are three green textolite cards inside of D-Link DNS-345 and two of them serve as adapters and are used to connect HDDs.
The main card has elements on both sides. On one side there is 128 Mbytes Samsung K9F1G08U0B flash memory and two DDR3 128 Mbytes Hynix H5TQ1G83DFR RAM modules. Also, there are two similar modules on the other side of the case; therefore, the DNS-345 is fitted with 512 Mbytes of RAM.
Marvell 88F6-BK12 chip is used as the CPU. Two Marvell 88E1318 modules answer for the network operation of the device, meanwhile Weltrend WT69P803 module maintains the operation of the LED display on the front panel of the device. Marvell 88SX7042 provides for the connection of four SATA-II discs to the PCI-E bus.
Now let's skip on to the software of the device.
Utilities and setting-up
DNS-345, the same way as its DNS-325 counterpart, doesn't have preconfigured IP-address in the network interfaces. In order to access the device the administrator needs either a DHCP-server in the network segment where the NAS is connected to or a single-purpose D-Link Storage Utility which allows detecting a DNS-345 in the network and carry out all preliminary setting-up procedures. This utility also displays previously created RAID-arrays and allows connecting the remote disc space as a local disc.
After all preliminary setting-up procedures are made, one will need to create a RAID-array via Hard Drive Configuration subitem, Disk Management item, Management tab. We would like to emphasize that DNS-345 comes only with English interface and in order to localize it in Russian one will need to create a RAID-array and then install the language pack; in other words, an administrator must use the English version of the interface while creating the RAID-array. We believe that this would come in not convenient at all for users of these devices. However, if a user's English is not too good, they can turn for help to Setup Wizard utility in Russian in order to create a RAID-array.
The device has support of several RAID-arrays at the same time and we believe that it is a nice thing. This way one can create a JBOD-array on the free disc space to store less important information than that for which one usually creates a duplication array, for example RAID1.
Apart from the preliminary setting-up method noted above, D-Link DNS-345 also supports connection through DNS-345 Setup Wizard master utility which notifies the user about the way the device must be connected, detects it in the network and offers the user to set the administrator password, set up the network parameters, the device and work group names, configure the DDNS-server operating parameters, set the system time and the NTP synchronization parameters, configure the e-mail notification dispatch parameters, and create a RAID-array.
After the preliminary setting-up procedures are successfully carried out, one can start changing additional settings using the web-interface, upgrading the firmware and installing the add-ons.
Firmware upgrade and management of language packs and add-ons
By default the web interface language of DNS-345 is only English and in order to add any other language the user must turn to Language item, System Management group, Management tab, where they will need to choose the file previously downloaded from the vendor's web-site. After the installation one will need to apply the changes made.
In order to upgrade the firmware version the user must use Firmware Upgrade menu item located in the same item. The firmware upgrade process is as easy as the language pack installation procedure; one just needs to choose the previously downloaded file and the NAS will do the rest. After updating, the NAS has to be rebooted. The whole firmware upgrade procedure takes about four minutes, the reboot included.
Apart from the features the firmware itself has, the administrator can use a choice of other features provided by the add-ons which are to be installed using Add Ons menu item, Application Management group. However, not all available modules can be installed straight away. For example, in order to install Squeeze Center module one must download a special installation program from the Logitech web-site.
We would like to point out that the installation of language packs and add-ons is available only when a RAID-array or formatted discs are created, and one needs to do this using English web-interface of the device. It stems from the large size of the packs avaiable for installation and there will be enough space for them only on the HDDs. Change of the RAID-array type or formatting of the discs will lead to the loss of localization and one will need to install the language packs once over.
Any browser updated to the latest version will do in order to manage the NAS. The user will be asked to type in the login and password upon logging to the NAS. By default there are no password and login set for the system administrator account.
Upon successful authentication, the user will find him/herself on a page with favourite applications which can be added or removed manually. Also, this page has a list of recent activities.
We would like to point out that we will not talk about all capabilities of the web-interface of D-Link DNS-345 NAS in detail, but only review the ones which we consider the most interesting. A more detailed review can be found in the previous review dedicated to DNS-325 NAS.
Application tab allows an administrator to download files through HTTP and FTP as well as from P2P networks, carry out remote and local backups, and manage the built-in file server. It is worth noticing that DNS-345 supports remote data storage through Amazon Web Service - Amazon Simple Storage Service when using Amazon S3 application. The list of capabilities is not full and it can be expanded by installing applicable add-ons.
Now let's examine capabilities provided in Management tab.
Using Setup Wizard item an administrator can facilitate the whole preliminary system setting-up procedure.
Using Disk Management item one can create a RAID-array, configure the volume encryption and scan the discs.
By using Account Management item an administrator can manage users and their groups, configure quotas and network shares. Also, DNS-345 supports connection to the corporate Active Directory and works with distributed file system which allows users to locally save files from the NAS, edit them and automatically upload them back.
D-Link DNS-345 has two GE network interfaces and it allows either carrying out load balancing or maintaining a fail-safe connection scheme using one of the following methods: Round Robin algorythm, Active Backup link backup measure, Balance-XOR, Broadcast, 802.3ad, adaptive transfer load balancing and adaptive load balancing. The above-noted procedure is carried out using LAN Setup item, Network Management group. Also, an administrator can use this group to specify the operation parameters of IPv4 and IPv6 protocols, choose the link speed and enable the LLTD protocol. Support of trunk connections through 802.1p and 802.1q protocols is an interesting capability, however we believe that it is not too useful since DNS-345 supports only one virtual network and does not allow setting up 802.1p protocol operating parameters.
Among other interesting capabilities of the device are support of DynDNS technology and ability of the NAS to manage the router using UPnP protocol. Moreover, an administrator himself/herself can specify the ports to be forwarded by the router.
Menu items in Application Management group allow changing operating parameters of such servers as FTP, UPnP AV, iTunes, as well as AFP and NFS services. By using Add Ons menu item an administrator can install necessary add-ons if the standard capabilities of DNS-345 are not enough. In order to install an add-on one only needs to choose a file previously downloaded from the vendor's web-server and click Apply button.
Using Time and Date menu item, System Management group, an administrator can change time and date and time zone settings as well as to set up the time synchronization with servers using NTP protocol.
Shutdown/powering on parameters as well as other system settings can be configured using System Settings and Power Management menu items, the same group.
Also, the NAS can automatically send notifications to the administrator using e-mail, SMS or Syslog server. Applicable settings can be configured in Notification and Logs menu items.
Using USB Devices menu item one can learn information on the UPS, printers and USB devices.
Brief information on the device and its state, discs and resource usage is located in System Status group.
That's where the brief review on the capabilities of the web-interface draws to a close and we pass straight on to the testing procedure.
The first testing procedure we usually begin our testing section with is estimating the booting time of the device, which is a time interval starting with the moment when the power is on until the first echo reply is received through ICMP protocol. D-Link DNS-345 boots in 75 seconds and it's a bit longer that the booting time of the DNS-325, however it’s still quite acceptable.
The second traditional test was a security scanning procedure which has been carried out using Positive Technologies XSpider 7.7 (Demo build 3100) utility. On the whole, there were seven open ports discovered, and they are TCP-80 (HTTP), UDP-137 (NetBIOS Name), TCP-139 (NetBIOS Samba), TCP-443 (HTTP SSL), TCP-445 (Microsoft DS), TCP-515 (printer) and TCP-3306 (MySQL). The most interesting data are presented below.
We do not consider the discovered vulnerabilities to be critical.
Afterwards we decided to skip directly to the device performance tests. D-Link DNS-345 supports five types of RAID-arrays, and they are JBOD, RAID0, RAID1, RAID5 and RAID10. Moreover, the user can gain access to the data located on discs without creating a RAID-array. The primary specifications of the test stand we used for the testing are presented below.
|Motherboard||ASUS Maximus IV Extreme-Z|
|CPU||Intel Core i7 2600K 3.4 GHz|
|RAM||DDR3 PC3-10700 SEC 32 Gbytes|
|OS||Windows 7 x64 SP1 Rus|
In order to measure the access speed of the device we used Intel NASPT 1.7.1 utility and, in accordance with the requirements of the test developers, we have intentionally reduced the available capacity of RAM of the test stand using msconfig utility. We would also like to point out that the loading tests carried out by this utility are quite complicated for the testing equipment and therefore we accept that the results obtained through other tests may turn out better than the ones presented here.
The NAS under inspection provides an administrator with balancing and network fail-safety means. However, the testing procedures showed that there is no need in balancing since the speed displayed by DNS-345 does not go beyond the capabilities of one Gigabit Ethernet network interface.
Since D-Link DNS-345 allows creating encrypted RAID-arrays, we could not help but carry out a test of the access speed to both encrypted and non-encrypted RAID-arrays.
Apart from the support of the current version of the IP protocol, IPv4, D-Link DNS-345 also supports operation with the next generation protocol, IPv6.
There is a USB 2.0 port on the rear panel of the NAS and it allows connecting printers and external HDDs or flash cards. Naturally, we couldn't help but test the access speed to data located on an external device. In order to carry out this testing procedure we connected a 750 Gbytes Transcend StoreJet 25M3 hard disc which we use for this kind of tests on a regular basis. We have chose two commonly used file systems for this test, NTFS and EXT3. Results of the measurements are presented on the diagram below.
That's where we draw the testing chapter of D-Link DNS-345 NAS to the end and move on to summing it all up.
Taken all round, we are glad about the D-Link DNS-345 NAS we have tested. This competitively priced device provides a user with an array of such sought-for services like data storage and information transmission both in home and small office networks. The only thing we were left a bit puzzled by was a bizarre peculiarity of the device to have higher data access speed when no RAID-array is used.
The strength points of D-Link DNS-345 are presented below.
- Competitive price
- IPv6 support
- Data encryption supported
- Built-in help
- Support of Active Directory
- Quite high data access speed
- Ability to manage the device using HTTPS
Unfortunately, we cannot help to mention certain drawbacks we have discovered.
- Small and noisy fans located in the case of the device
- User must at first create a RAID-array using the web-interface in English
- Russian web-interface runs all over the screen
- Not fully translated web-interface
As of when this article was being written, the average price for a D-Link DNS-345 in Moscow online shops was 12.500 roubles.